Sushi Made Simple: AUTEC’s Sushi Robots Produce Consistent Rice Balls, Rolls and More

By Ryan Slattery

Restaurant owners and businesses have found a friend in AUTEC’s Sushi Robots. The automated machines are lending sushi chefs a hand, helping them with some of the more mundane and time-consuming tasks. The end result is consistency. We’re talking more uniform rolls and rice balls with far less food waste.

“The machines are meant to be a complement,” explains Steven Lim, West Coast Sales Representative. “We work in tandem with one another–chef and machine side-by-side. The sushi robot isn’t meant to replace the sushi chef. It’s meant to assist them. Just streamline the repetitive tasks and allow chefs to focus on the intricate aspects of sushi making. You be creative. We do the rest. It’s more of a time saver.”

AUTEC has been a leading manufacturer of commercial sushi robots for decades, equipping food service businesses and academic institutions all across the world with cutting-edge technology for sushi making. The story of how the company got into the business is as interesting as the technology itself. 

Audio Technica, a renowned Japanese audio equipment manufacturer from the 1960s, embarked on the sushi robot journey in the 1980s as vinyl records yielded to CDs. A creative spark was ignited when the company conducted an employee “idea contest” utilizing Audio Technica’s existing technology and manufacturing capabilities. This resulted in the development and launch of the world’s first home-use sushi maker in 1984. The widespread appeal of this product attracted the commercial industry’s interest, leading Audio Technica to create a commercial version of the sushi maker under the name AUTEC.

Today, AUTEC’s sushi robot line has expanded from Nigiri robots to Maki (for roll type), and Omusubi (rice balls) robots, as well as sushi conveyor belts and sushi rice mixers. The popular products can be found almost everywhere including on cruise lines, in casinos, school cafeterias, universities, grocery stores, and large stadiums like Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles. 

“Our machines can fit into any operation. They really speak to the general public,” says Takuro Iwamoto, West Coast Sales Representative. “There are more than 3,000 locations utilizing our sushi robots.”

As Nathan Drew, Sales Manager, points out, it’s easy for employees to learn how to use the machines and the results are near perfect. “Regardless of who is operating the machine, you’re going to get uniformity across the board,” he says. “Anyone that’s trained can hop on the machine and make perfect sushi. It’s super easy.”

Operators, like Peter Carrillo, senior vice president of development at A Perfect Bite, agree about the machine’s simplicity and efficiency. His Tekka Bar at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas uses several of AUTEC’s sushi robots.

“It helps us with efficiency, consistency, and control of waste,” Carrillo says. “It’s very user friendly. The machines come with good documentation that’s laminated that we post up in the back of the house so cooks can see the pictures and diagrams. The consistency, reliability, and positive impact on cost-of-goods and labor, has been worth the investment.”